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Medieval Art Resources: Encyclopedias

A guide to major sources of information for researching the art of medieval Europe

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Encyclopedias of Art & History




The Dictionary of Art
Despite its title, this multivolume reference work is really an encyclopedia. Monumental in scope, it is the largest and most comprehensive reference work on the visual arts that has ever been published. Don't start any research on art without checking this source. It is also available online in Oxford Art Online.
Encyclopedia of World Art
Although older than the encyclopedia above, this is still a useful and scholarly work. It is richly illustrated with thousands of color and black-and-white plates, which are all found together at the back of each volume.
Encyclopedia of Architecture: Design, Engineering, Construction
This set is comprised of scholarly articles and bibliographies on all aspects of architecture - style, design, construction, technology, economics, organizations, movements, and people.
Dictionary of the Middle Ages 
Don't let the word "dictionary" in the title fool you. This multivolume set is really an encyclopedia. An authoritative and scholarly work, it will provide you with the historical background that is necessary to understand medieval art.
Oxford Companion to Christian Art and Architecture
This is a handy one-volume encyclopedia on all aspects of Christian art and architecture of all time periods. Its short articles can help you greatly in understanding the religious traditions and subject matter that permeate medieval art. It is also available online.
Encyclopedia of Medieval Church Art 
Illustrated extensively with photographs of sculpture, stained glass, paintings, etc. found in medieval churches throughout England, this book describes the many subjects represented in church art of the Middle Ages.
Medieval Art: A Topical Dictionary
This reference work is a quick source for identifying and understanding the subjects, stories, symbols, and themes frequently represented in  Christian art of the Middle Ages.

Humanities Librarian

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Leanna Goodwater
University Library
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